* Adjusted net profit A$175 mln vs A$205 mln
* Still awaiting regulatory approval for A$3 bln ADM bid
* Sets final dividend of 20 cents per share
* Expects to pay out 55 cps dividend before ADM deal completes
SYDNEY, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Australian bulk grains handler and takeover target GrainCorp Ltd posted a 15 percent drop in adjusted full-year net profit after a smaller harvest dented revenues and said it faced a tougher period ahead as drought and frosts affected yields.
GrainCorp, the subject of a A$3.0 billion ($2.8 billion) bid by Archer Daniel Midland Co, is one of numerous Australian agribusinesses to have attracted international interest in recent years, with bidders betting on the country’s ability to supply fast-growing Asia with high quality food.
But after enjoying two years of strong harvests, GrainCorp Chief Executive Alison Watkins said the current season was shaping up as challenging for many growers.
“Drought conditions in Queensland and Northern New South Wales have negatively impacted yields in those regions, while recent frosts have affected many areas further south,” Watkins said in a statement on Thursday.
“After a couple of big years, GrainCorp’s storage and logistics network must be well prepared for the much tougher period ahead.”
ADM’s bid for GrainCorp, the largest grains handler on Australia’s east coast, is still awaiting regulatory approval from Australia and China.
Some Australian farm groups and politicians have voiced opposition to the offer, ahead of a mid-December deadline for Treasurer Joe Hockey to make a decision after advice from the Foreign Investment Review Board.
GrainCorp, which has malt and oils units in addition to its grains marketing operations, and storage and logistics businesses, said ADM had secured 28.3 percent of acceptances for its offer so far.
GrainCorp’s adjusted net profit was A$175 million, below last year’s record adjusted net profit of A$205 million.
Analysts’ average forecasts were for a profit of A$173.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.
Including one-off costs associated with the acquisition and integration of its oils business and costs related to the ADM takeover, the net profit was A$141 million.
The company declared a dividend of 20 cents per share and said it planned to pay out the remaining 55 cents per share of dividends allowed under ADM’s offer before the deal went unconditional.
Shares in GrainCorp nudged up 0.4 percent to A$12.25 in early trade on Thursday.